Careful management vital for high pig production

A figure like “33 pigs weaned a year per sow” is down to housing, genetics, feed and staff management, according to pig farmer Soren Sondergaard.


With a herd of 900 sows and weaning up to 14.6 pigs a litter, careful management is vital to achieve such a success, he said.


“All factors of management contribute to the production figures. For example, when it comes to breeding, all sows are given an index which is scored on number of piglets, mothering skills, sow strength, daily gain of offspring, feed conversion ratio and meat percentage. Only the best sows are retained for breeding,” he said.


All semen is bought in and a criss-cross breeding programme is conducted using Landrace and Yorkshire lines.


All feed is produced on farm, with 700 acres of cereals/maize, onions, potatoes and grass. Whey from a local dairy is also fed to sows.


“We wet feed and this means no waste is produced. Because we have four pig farms, we have also invested more money so local feed stations are on every farm. This means feed doesn’t have to be moved from farm to farm,” he said.


Mr Sondergaard and his parents have invested 75m DKK (£9.2m) in land and buildings and anticipate the production of 1800 sows within a few years.


Pigs are reared according to UK welfare standards, with sows farrowing in crates which are opened up after a few days, loose housing for dry sows and part-slatted floors for weaners.


All staff receive training and with the business employing five Danes and 10 Romanians, both nationalities are required to speak English to maximise communication.